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1999 ML320
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Discussion Starter #1
Just put a new set of Michelin tires on the 1999 ML320. The Tech at Bell wants $1100.00 to replace the front Ball joints and tie rods. Most of that is labor.

I have more time then money these days, to replace the ball joints, dont you just unscrew the nuts and tap them out and replace ?

Any tricks regarding the Tie Rod replacement ?

Its dang cold here in Michigan to work in the garage, but would prefer being cold over the paid pf paying $350.00 Labor....

and I can buy the parts for 20 cents on the dollar vs their estimate.

Thank you in advance for the tips.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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If the ball joints have never been replaced before, then it is much more difficult than you believe.

The ball joint is attached to the steering knuckle, not the lower control arm. So the knuckle has to be removed the the ball joint pressed out. Then the replacement ball joint is screwed on with the large nut, but of course you need the special tool for the nut.
 

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MB
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I was able to do mine with a screw type ball joint ball joint press that I rented. It was pretty straight forward. You do need the special ball joint socket to tighten the replacement press in screw tight ball joints.
 

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The locking rings on the ball joints not only need a special tool, but require a very high torque as well. 350.00 labor for two ball joints on an ML is pretty resonable.
 

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1999 ML320
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36 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Ok, I just replace my right side outer Tie Rod. Piece of Cake.
1) remove wheel and its totally exposed. 2) Remove Nut at ball joint end. 3) hit 5 times and shock the ball joint to fall out. 4) Break loose the locking nut on the other end. Unscrew 25 revolutions and replace.
My only glitch was it was rusted in and I had to drumel the slots an additional inch to
get it to turn out. I recommend anyone with a little talent to give it a go.
Do not be afraid.
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,215 Posts
I am glad you got it done.

I hope your are going to get an alignment. I can promise you it is out of spec now even
if it feels like it tracking correctly.
 

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2 wheel drive W163 and W124
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79 Posts
My alignment is great but I have a whining noise from 5-45mph. I was thinking its the transfer case and planning on changing the fluid. However, I was informed that it may be my ball joints...

What do worn out ball joints sound like? Im pretty sure my tie rods have been replaced.
 

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2002 ML 320 Sport, 1997 SL 500, 1997 E-420
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21 Posts
Front Ball Joint Replacement.

I replaced the ball joints and it was not that dificult at all. The front axles didn't have to come out. I used the moog replacement ball joint that use a nut to drive them in. I bought two special tools, a ball joint puller ($35 in ebay) and a pin wrench ball joint socket ($19 in ebay, too). All others tools needed were in my tool box: 19 mm wrench, 21 mm socket, T-40 torx bit, 10 mm socket, and.... Note: the pin wrench socket is for 3/4" ratched. You can buy an adapter for the 1/2" ratched. This is the route that I took. Hope it works for you. Hey, my first language is Spanish, so, be patient with my English language knowledge.

1) Park the truck with a 8" ramp beneath the tire in the oposite side that you are going to work with. This way the sway bar will help keeping the suspension up.

2) Jack it up until it looks level and put a jack stand to the chassis, close to the front door.

3) Put the floor jack beneath the ball joint and raise it until you see that the whole truck is moving. Put another jack stand as close as possible to the ball joint.

4) Remove the tire. Remove the brake caliper (with the T-40 torx bit) and hang it aside. Remove the brake antilock sensor and the brake disc, you will need an allen key.

5) Remove the upper ball joint nut (19 mm) and the rack and pinion end joint nut (21 mm).

6) Using the ball joint puller, get the upper ball joint and the end joint loose and out of the way.

7) Pull the hub to the front to have access to the lower ball joint nut (21 mm).

8) You can use the ball joint puller to get it loose or you can hammer it out (as I did) since it is not needed anymore.

9) Turn the hub about 120 degrees to expose the ball joint and support it on the lower control arm.

10) Using a small hammer you can pesuade it out.

11) Put the new ball joint and install it with the pin ball joint socket. You'll need a strong helping hand here to hold the hub. In my case I drive it about half way and finished it once the hub was mounted back. As many good repair manual says, reverse the process to complete the project.
 

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'00 ML430, '97 E320
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I am gearing up to do this front lower ball joint job. I have all the tools except the special socket and the ball joint tools. Any found place to rent these special tools? Autozone maybe?
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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They wont have the socket, but the JTC brand socket can be purchased on ebay for about $25-30.
Advance or Autozone may have the correct ball joint tools. If they are the original ones they should pressed out to avoid damage. If you do not have a press you will have to take the entire part the lower ball joint is installed in to a shop with a press and have them pressed out.
 

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'00 ML430, '97 E320
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They wont have the socket, but the JTC brand socket can be purchased on ebay for about $25-30.
Advance or Autozone may have the correct ball joint tools. If they are the original ones they should pressed out to avoid damage. If you do not have a press you will have to take the entire part the lower ball joint is installed in to a shop with a press and have them pressed out.
Thanks for the quick response.

I think the JTC tool is the 1415. Didn't find on ebay but did on Amazon. Thanks for the lead. By the way, most folks probably don't have a 300 Nm Torque wrench, mine peaks at 200 Nm. I plan on just using my 2 foot breaker bar and pull has hard as I can. What have others done?

Does the replacement ball joint just drop in or does it need pressed a bit?

Any tricks to getting the steering knuckle off? The WIS document uses some type of puller. Is a general puller good enough?
 

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Ok, I replaced the upper control arm, lower Ball Joints and the tie rod ends on my wife's ML320. It took about 2 1/2 hours on the drivers side and about 1 hour 15 min on the passenger side(learning curve helped here). It was really pretty easy just took everything in steps.

One point of note the Huge C clamp press you can rent out at the auto parts store will not fit this vehicle, as there is not enough clearance from the Ball Joint to the axle. a large ball peen hammer really helps as an extractor. Also on the new screw in ball joints, they take a lot of Umph to tighten and drive in all the way, so make sure you have a second set of very strong hands and a breaker bar with an extension! Also use a very small amount of wd-40 and it makes the installation of the ball joints a lot easier!

My wife's car drives fantastic straight and true, no slop! We have an appointment to get the alignment done today, so no extra tire wear. My deepest Thanks to Senior Jose Lopez and his GREAT write up and Pictures. This really helped me prepare for and complete this job!
 

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2004 M class Inspiration 270 cdi
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138 Posts
The locking rings on the ball joints not only need a special tool, but require a very high torque as well. 350.00 labor for two ball joints on an ML is pretty resonable.
just for labor 350.00 hahahah lol here in albania you can change all the parts of the car with that amount of $$$$ ,i changed both my front ball joints for 110 $ labor included, and both ball joints were bilstein
 

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2001 ML320 & 2012 ML350
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4 Posts
Great instructions, used them today, thank you so much.
I only had two problems (not related to your instructions, more as a buyer beware);
1/ The JTC MB pin ball joint socket I got required a 3/4" socket, so I had to get an adapter to convert it to the more usual 1/2" socket, used by my torque wrench.
2/ The 'Mercedes-Benz Front Lower Ball Joint Hamman OEM Quality 1633300135' parts that I purchased had lock rings where the notches were off center! I had to modify them to work with the MB pin ball joint socket.
 

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1999 ML430, 2008 GL450
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105 Posts
After looking for this procedure for several days now, joselopez write-up with pictures is the best I've seen. Does anyone have the part numbers of the 2 special tools required?
 

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1999 E430; 2005 ML500
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1,716 Posts
Good write up, BUT for me the sticking point was getting the new Meyle ball joint in.

I don't know if it was manufacturing tolerances or what, but the ball joint would not go in more than maybe an 1/8 of the way. Once the knuckle is left hanging, it is tough to get a lot of counter-leverage to put overwhelming torque on it (i.e with pipe extensions). I resorted to an air impact wrench, but that was stopped in its tracks too. I think it should have gone in like these guys get it:
.

I measured the ball joint diameter, and it was the same as the one that came out (which was actually pretty well seated - maybe a 10-whacker with the sledge).

I ended up sanding the ball joint circumference a few times, each time helped me seat it a bit farther. The third time was a charm.

Since that ate up all of my time and energy (we had to spend half a day fixing the compressor with non-spec parts), I will have to do the other joint later, and for that I absolutely will need the air impact at the ready. Recommend you do the same, since your car won't go anywhere once you get the joint out.

Anyway, the old joint was way beyond toast, and with a pair of new Bilsteins up front it feels like a solid new car again, not like the wobbly floater it was before. The second joint should impress me even more.
 

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'07 ML350, '05 ML350SE, '04 ML350, '01 ML55, '05 SLK350, '04 SLK200, '76 280SL
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Good write up, BUT for me the sticking point was getting the new Meyle ball joint in.

I don't know if it was manufacturing tolerances or what, but the ball joint would not go in more than maybe an 1/8 of the way. ....

I measured the ball joint diameter, and it was the same as the one that came out (which was actually pretty well seated - maybe a 10-whacker with the sledge).

I ended up sanding the ball joint circumference a few times, each time helped me seat it a bit farther. The third time was a charm.
I purchased a set of Meyle subframe mounts for my W107 280SL and found out - the hard way - that the mount bolts were not the right size. I ended up shearing a mount bolt inside the sub-frame and it took me half a day to drill the bolt out. After this experience I swore I will never buy Meyle parts again, for any of my cars. You can read my story here : http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r-c107-sl-slc-class/1833586-sub-frame-bush-kit-problems-meyle.html#post6959258
 
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